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Text Messaging Applications (sometimes called apps)

Text messages are quick and easy ways to write short messages to anyone in the world. They are usually set up on a smart phone, but can then be used on your desktop as well. Messages are easy to send and the recipient is notified immediately that you have contacted them. Here are four of the most popular messaging applications. 

  • Facebook Messenger is part of the Facebook system. It is installed on your phone and is a quick and easy way to stay in touch with your contacts. In addition to quick messages, you can also send photos or videos, and make audio or video phone calls. 
  • Telegram is a messaging app available on most phones and can be used on desktop computers as well. Download it from your app store and use your phone number to register. You can invite friends from your contact list. Use Telegram for online chats, sending pictures or making phone calls. You can create a “channel” for chatting with a group of folks all at once. This may work for your family to have group chats or phone calls. 
  • What’s App is another popular messaging application to use with your smart phone. It is safe to use and is a way to send messages, pictures, videos and to make phone calls. This app is used around the world. It also has the capacity to group chat up to 100 people. 

For help with setting up and using the above messaging systems, go to and search setting up the specific messaging application.

Video Calling Devices

If you don’t have a smart phone but would love to stay in contact with family and friends, you may look into these simpler, more senior-friendly devices below.

  • ViewClix Smart Frame is a simple frame that displays a slideshow of your family’s most recent photos. There is no need to learn any newfangled technology, because there is an auto feature allowing video calls to be received automatically. The system is safe and only verified family members or friends can make the calls. Family members use the free ViewClix mobile app to share the pictures and make the video calls.
  • Grandpadis a tablet for seniors. For a low monthly fee family and friends can have instant contact with their loved ones. The app used by family members is free and no wi-fi is necessary to use the tablet. There are only four buttons on the screen, phone calls, e-mail, photos and camera. The tablet can also connect to the internet and has games specially designed for senior users. 
  • Amazon Echo is a handy little speaker that can make connecting with the outside world a dream. Just say “Alexa” and follow that name with your command. Alexa can tell the weather or play your favorite music. She can come up with cooking ideas and report the latest news. The echo can be programmed to set the temperature in the home or turn the lights on or off. Alexa can also make phone calls. You just say, Alexa, call (insert name of your kids or grandkids.)

In these uncertain times, it’s really important to stay in touch with our loved ones. Take some time and learn how to use the messaging components of your smart phone or if you don’t use a smart phone, try out one of the devices above to help you stay current with friends and family.